Interim chief chosen to lead Chimacum School District
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Rich Stewart will join the Chimacum School District as interim superintendent after retiring from a similar job in Eatonville.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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CHIMACUM — The Chimacum School Board has selected an interim superintendent who is retiring from his current job in Eatonville this month but who isn't quite ready to quit working.

Eatonville Schools Superintendent Rich Stewart will replace Craig Downs, who will leave Chimacum on June 30 to become superintendent of Joy Christian School in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Ariz.

“I had retired from my job, but I still wanted to stay involved,” Stewart said Thursday after the board made its selection Wednesday night.

“This opportunity came to me out of the blue, and I decided it was something I wanted to do.”

He is expected to start work in July.

Stewart, 64, has worked as a teacher, a principal and a superintendent at 10 school districts in Washington state since 1975, according to his resume.

In January, he announced his resignation, which will be effective at the end of this month, from the Pierce County Eatonville School District, where he had served as superintendent since 2010.

He told the School Board there he wanted to spend more time with his family, The Dispatch of Eatonville said.

Stewart will sign a contract for one year, during which time the district will seek a permanent replacement for Downs.

Stewart's salary has not been determined, according to the district.

Downs, who has served as Chimacum School District superintendent since 2010, earns $119,000 a year.

Stewart was one of four finalists narrowed down from a field of nine applicants, said consultant Michael Boring.

Stewart said he was not familiar with the specific issues in the Chimacum district but felt confident his experience with small schools would allow him to run the district effectively.

Stewart said it could be possible to make up school funding shortfalls through grants and sponsorships.

Stewart earned a bachelor's degree from Central Washington University, a master's from Central Washington University and an administrative certification from Washington State University.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: June 13. 2013 6:17PM
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